The Very Useful Beta Carotene

The Very Useful Beta Carotene

By Shalini Singhal  on: 27 November 2016
Rate this: 
 5 Rating  based on 15 Reviews

 

THE VERY USEFUL -  BETA CAROTENE 

 

Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits, especially carrots and colorful vegetables and it is this pigment that gives vegetables and fruits their rich colors.

The human body converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A (retinol) - Beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need Vitamin A for healthy skin and mucous membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision.
Beta-carotene in itself is not an essential nutrient, but vitamin A is.

 

Beta-carotene from food is a safe source of vitamin A

In the body, beta-carotene converts into vitamin A (retinol. Taking big doses of vitamin A can be toxic, but your body only converts as much vitamin A from beta-carotene as it needs. That means beta-carotene is considered a safe source of vitamin A. However, too much beta-carotene can be dangerous for people who smoke. (Getting high amounts of either vitamin A or beta-carotene from food, not from supplements, is safe.)

 

Beta-carotene is an antioxidant


Beta-carotene, like all carotenoids, is an antioxidant. An antioxidant is a substance that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules; it protects the body from free radicals. Free radicals damage cells through oxidation. Eventually, the damage caused by free radicals can cause several chronic illnesses.

Several studies have shown that antioxidants through diet help people's immune systems, protect against free radicals, and lower the risk of developing cancer and  heart diseases. Some studies have suggested that those who consume at least four daily servings of beta-carotene rich fruits and/or vegetables have a lower risk of developing cancer or heart disease.

 

Which foods are rich in beta-carotene?

Dietary Sources

The richest sources of beta-carotene are yellow, orange, and green leafy fruits and vegetables (such as carrots, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe, and winter squash, plums, kale, asparagus, apricots, pumpkin, etc ). In general, the more intense the color of the fruit or vegetable, the more beta-carotene it has.

If you follow a healthy diet rich in beta-carotene you do not need supplements. As mentioned above, supplements can lead to undesirable excesses in beta-carotene levels - this cannot occur if your source is from the food you eat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dosage / Recommended Intake

There is no Recommended Daily Allowance of beta-carotene. Some doctors may prescribe between 10,000 IU per day up to 83,000 IU. Try to get most of your daily dose from the foods you eat. Eating more fruits and vegetables will ensure you get enough beta-carotene, and will also give you the added benefits of other nutrients and antioxidants.

Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day to get about 3 to 6 mg of beta-carotene.

 

Therapeutic use of Beta carotene

Studies that look at big groups of people suggest that those who eat 4 or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables rich in beta-carotene may reduce their risk of developing heart disease or cancer. Other preliminary studies suggest that eating foods rich in beta-carotene reduces the risk of Sporadic ALS (Lou Gehrig Disease).

However, a few studies have found that people who take beta-carotene supplements may have a higher risk for conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Researchers think that may be because the total of all the nutrients you eat in a healthy, balanced diet gives more protection than just beta-carotene supplements alone.

 

Precautions

 

So far, studies have not confirmed that beta-carotene supplements by themselves help prevent cancer. Eating foods rich in beta-carotene, along with other antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, seems to protect against some kinds of cancer. However, beta-carotene supplements may increase the risk of heart disease and cancer in people who smoke or drink heavily. Those people should not take beta-carotene, except under a doctor's supervision.

Beta-carotene reduces sun sensitivity for people with certain skin problems, but it does not protect against sunburn

 

My article in Hindi in a Hindi news daily ( Hindustan) Delhi edition on Beta Carotene

                                                                             

 

 

Dr.Shalini Singhal

 

 


Tags:

 Related Blogs:
Staying Healthy & Losing Weight during Ramadan - 10 Tips
04 June 2016
The Holy month of Ramadan has begun. Fasting during Ramadan may improve your health, but only if done in the proper manner. If you are not careful, food eaten during the pre-dawn ( Suhoor) and dusk meals ( Iftar)  can cause some weight gain instead of weight loss and probably problems like dehydration, headache, dizziness, bloating, acidity, constipation etc. You also need to be very careful if you suffer from Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart ailments & Kidney disorders. Feasting during the non-fasting hours can be unhealthy. Its recommended to approach the fast with discipline,to lose few kilos and keep fit & healthy. The underlying message behind Ramadan is self-discipline and self-control. This should not fall apart at the end of the day. TEN  TIPS For Staying Healthy & Losing Weight during Ramadan    1.With the long fasting hours,  hydration is the key for a healthy Ramadan. Dehydration leads to headaches, irritability, and fatigue. Besides plenty of water,coconut water,lassi, chaas,herbal teas,etc  pack your morning and evening meals with  fruits and veggies for extra hydration.   2.It is very important to watch your sodium intake at this time as high sodium can cause greater dehydration.  Avoid eating and drinking that makes you more thirsty like salty foods like soups, sauces, condiments, canned meats, sodas, coffee and tea.        3. Breaking the fast  (Iftar) with whole fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains which can stabilize your blood sugar , kill hunger and prevent overeating . Filling up on heavy fried foods, fatty meats, and sweets may contribute to excessive fatigue and weight gain during Ramadan.   4.Always modify portion sizes during Ramadan meals . Instead of putting out a large plate, opt for a smaller plate and  cut back the amount of meat that you use, and replace it with vegetables.   5.Avoid  fried foods,fast foods and heavy oil items which can cause heartburn and other problems for you all day. Its wise to eat natural than processed.      6.Make sure during the day you do very light activities like walking, house cleaning , light yoga etc.   Go for high intensity workouts only at night since you can drink all the water you need at that time   7.Start the Day Right!  Suhoor is expected to provide you with the energy you need for the entire day. Eating protein keeps you full for hours.   Complex carbohydrates provide fibre and are a great energy source to sustain you throughout the day until Iftar. They are filling, easily digestible, and can be prepared in a variety of ways. So combine  lean protein , complex carbohydrates with a healthy fat for a balanced meal.To keep hydrated during the day it is imperative to have fluids at this time too.   8.To get the most benefit from your foods, it is important to make sure you cook them in a healthy way. Avoiding cooking methods that require lots of added fat is a great way to decrease the number of calories and improve the overall quality of your diet.    Try  baking , grilling or shallow pan frying instead of deep frying .   9. If you suffer from Diabetes,Hypertension,Kidney disorders,heart ailments,liver diseases, etc do consult a doctor before commencement of the fast. Also, your medication would have to be prescribed accordingly.       10. A change in routine during Ramadan, could lead to constipation. To avoid this, enrich your diet with fibre by eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. Drink plenty of water during non fasting hours and try to be active whenever possible.                                                                                                                ...........Dr.Shalini Singhal
Is Almond Milk Really Beneficial For You ?
07 January 2017
ALMOND MILK - How Healthy ? ALMOND MILK is a MILK SUBSTITUTE made by finely grinding almonds together with water. Almond milk is indisputably nutritious with little to no saturated fat, unlike cow's milk, and no lactose, making it the right choice for Lactose intolerant people. Almond milk can be prepared at home and is also available at supermarkets. It makes an excellent substitution for milk products in many recipes. However, recipes that require a high fat content milk or half-and-half may not produce the same results with almond milk.   Nutrition Facts Almond milk like soy milk is not milk in the literal sense. It is a drink made from ground almonds and water. Almond milk nutrition facts as well as its health benefits make it a suitable replacement for cow's milk. Almonds are Protein rich, Full of vitamin E, Rich in minerals like magnesium, selenium, manganese, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorus and calcium Good amount of fibre Full of heart healthy flavonoids   HEALTH BENEFITS -Almond milk helps lower LDL cholesterol and protect the heart. -High levels of vitamin E, ensure powerful antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants inhibit the growth of free radicals that are known to cause cancer. -Almond milk contains many vital nutrients, hence unlike other milk, they don't need to be fortified with vitamins and minerals. -Low in calories and no cholesterol and saturated fats makes this nut milk beverage very healthy and good for those trying to lose weight. -Power packed with nutrients, almond milk health benefits will keep you stay fit and fine.   Recommendations Almond milk is being basically used instead of cow's milk by people who are not too fond of cow's milk, as it tastes better than cow's milk. Children who fuss about drinking cow's milk can be given almond milk. They prefer almond milk's taste as compared to soy or rice milk. This non-dairy alternative is also used by those who show lactose intolerance symptoms. Since almond milk is extracted from almonds, it is lactose-free and can be easily consumed by lactose intolerant people.    Word of Caution However, a word of caution on use of Almond Milk %u2013 Almond milk cannot be substituted for breast milk. Although the health benefits of almonds are many, it does not have the necessary adequate nourishment required for infant growth. For lactose intolerant babies, it's best to consult a doctor on what would be best for the child. Nuts like almonds also include goitrogens; this substance is known to suppress thyroid gland functioning by interfering with iodine uptake. The use of bitter almonds has also been cautioned against, as bitter almonds, when blended with water, release cyanide; a poisonous chemical.    Almond Milk Recipe     Ingredients Raw almonds, 1? cups Filtered water, 4 cups Method  Soak almonds in water for minimum six to eight hours. Drain the water, and blend the almond with 4 cups of water, until it reaches a milk like consistency. Strain it to remove almond skin and granules. One can store almond milk in an air-tight jar in the refrigerator for four to five days. If you want it to be sweeter, then blend in a few soaked dates as well. Almond milk, in any flavor, can also be added to coffee or tea, just like normal milk or cream. Use almond milk in smoothies.   My article in Hindi published in a leading Hindi News Daily   
Shalini Singhal

 View Profile

Chief Nutritionist in Delhi NCR, India 

Dr. Shalini Singhal (Dietician & Nutritionist in Dwarka, Delhi NCR, India) is a Doctorate and PG Gold Medalist in Nutrition, an eminent healthcare professional with over 20 years experience in Nutrition Solutions Industry. Dr. Shalini Singhal brings in expertise from the world's best,scientifically proven and WHO endorsed wellness programs from USA, Pritikin Longevity Centre and also from other reknowned slimming & fitness companies like VLCC Health Care Ltd. She has headed Pritikin India and VLCC Nutri Diet Clinic and other Wellness Projects and spearheaded R&D initiatives in the field for several years. She has extensive experience of handling people who desire to lose weight and who have other associated problems. Her endeavors are focussed towards providing the most advanced and scientifically proven diet therapy for weight & disease management.Dr. Shalini Singhal (Dietician & Nutritionist  in Dwarka, Delhi NCR, India) has been an Educator and Trainer for dieticians and nutritionists pan India. She has written and published several original and review articles in various national and international journals on health, diet & nutrition. She has been participating in various conferences and is the Panelist of Nutrition & Wellness Club of various public schools in New Delhi NCR, India. Dr. Shalini Singhal has been promoting lifestyle modification programs for health and wellness at various events in schools in Dwarka & Gurgaon, colleges, clubs and corporate houses.
Shalini Singhal
Dr. Shalini Singhal
Chief Nutritionist in Delhi NCR Register Now!
By using this website, you agree that we and our partners may set cookies for purposes such as customising content. I Agree